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Hamptons Life

Jun 12, 2018 12:21 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press

The Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center Announces Summer Lineup

Jun 12, 2018 12:26 PM

The intimate stage at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center has proven for 20 years that even a small area like the East End can attract big-time talent.

This year’s summer lineup presents an eclectic variety of performing artists who will appeal to an array of audiences. From music, to comedy, to dance and more, variety and diversity are the key words in preparing the summer schedule.

“We want to have something for 3-year-olds and we want to have something for patrons in their 90s,” WHBPAC Executive Director Clare Bisceglia said. “We always look to be culturally diverse and culturally rich.”

Visiting the performing arts center this Saturday, June 16, is Niccolò Ronchi, a classical pianist who is making a stop on the East End before venturing overseas.

Classical and jazz music fans may also enjoy the John Pizzarelli Trio with Catherine Russell on Sunday, July 15, covering songs by some of the greats like Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday, as well as Arturo Sandoval on Sunday, August 19, a “spectacular jazz trumpet player,” according to Ms. Bisceglia.

Returning to the WHBPAC this year is Duke University’s a cappella group, The Pitchforks, on Saturday, June 23, and The Fab Faux, a Beatles tribute band, on Saturday, July 28. On Sunday, August 12, Josh Ritter, the Americana-style singer and songwriter, will be making his first return performance at the WHBPAC since his first time there in 2011. Rufus Wainwright, another audience favorite, will returning on Saturday, August 18. The center enjoys bringing back past performers and welcoming them into the Westhampton Beach family once again, Ms. Bisceglia said.

Music fans with a rock ’n’ roll soft spot will enjoy Lyle Lovett and his Large Band on Friday, August 3, Nick Lowe with Los Straitjackets on Sunday, June 24, and John Hiatt and The Goners featuring Sonny Landreth on Sunday, August 26. Pop lovers can sing and dance to Andy Grammer’s upbeat radio hits on Friday, June 29.

Musical theater enthusiasts can get their fill with storyteller and singer Alan Cumming on Friday, July 6, and Broadway tenor Max Von Essen with classical pianist Billy Stritch on Sunday, July 22. The multi-talented Miss America Vanessa Williams will combine elements of Broadway and Hollywood, highlighting her versatility, on Saturday, August 4.

ABBA: The Concert will perform an ABBA tribute show on Saturday, August 11, and the Mabel Mercer Cabaret will perform a centennial salute to legendary lyricist and playwright Alan Jay Lerner on Friday, August 31.

Families will enjoy Pinkalicious, the musical adaption of the children’s book of the same name, on Sunday, July 8.

Dance and acrobatics fans can experience performances far from the average with Cocktail Hour: The Show, presented by dance company Ballets with a Twist on Saturday, August 25, and the Peking Acrobats on Sunday, July 29.

According to Ms. Bisceglia, laughter is always the best medicine, and this year’s lineup of laughs includes Tracy Morgan (July 7), Kathleen Madigan (July 21) and John Cleese (July 14), who Ms. Bisceglia referred to as “comic royalty.”

There are some seasoned artists appearing at the WHBPAC this year, and Ms. Bisceglia said that what draws these artists to such a small performance hall is the unique and special experience the WHBPAC provides.

“When these artists play in such big venues, it’s easy for them to lose that connection with their audience,” she said. “Here, there’s such a great one-on-one connection between the artist and their audience.”

This audience intimacy is what Ms. Bisceglia believes makes the center stand out from other venues, and speaks to the tight sense of community on the East End.

“Being able to make eye contact with 450 people is a very different and amazing experience for them,” Ms. Bisceglia said. “Here, you really have that sense of intimacy.”

For more information on upcoming performances at the Westhampton Beach Performing Arts Center and to purchase tickets, call 631-288-1500 or visit whbpac.org.

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